City spatial planning and modelling : hidden depths : workshop report

Bricker, S.; Webb, S.. 2016 City spatial planning and modelling : hidden depths : workshop report. British Geological Survey, 15pp. (OR/16/014) (Unpublished)

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There is a current drive to reform the planning system in the UK to unlock the value of data and embed digital processes into the work of government and cities. It is recognised that existing data, in particular environment and utility datasets, are not fully utilised to inform planning decisions at a local and strategic level. Failure to consider the full suite of data for cities weakens the evidence base on which planning decisions are made and leads to inefficiencies and a late stage awareness of potential issues. This situation is most pronounced for underground development in cities. The subsurface extent of our cities is gaining increased prominence in future cities thinking. Continued urban growth, demand for resources, city resilience and sustainability concerns bring increased pressures on subsurface space, facilities and services but also opportunities for more strategic subsurface utilisation. For example it is estimated that 76% of London’s total heat demand could be met by secondary sources such as ground heat and re-using waste heat from the underground. In addition we are seeing a growing trend for subsurface living – 450 applications for basements submitted to Kensington and Chelsea in 2013 alone. However we must first address the constraints, the fact that unforeseen ground risks are one of the main causes of project delays and insurance claims on completed projects at a time when government is calling for a 33% reduction in project costs. Meanwhile there are over 680,000 properties at risk of flooding from heavy rainfall in London in a 1 in 200 year event. As a result cities want to increase the amount of urban green cover and infiltration of water into the ground through sustainable drainage systems is being prioritised and included in new planning policy. There is currently no formal policy for integrating urban underground space and above ground city services within the planning framework and no one organisation with a mandate to take ownership of this issue. However there are a number of projects and initiatives underway which are beginning to address elements of the issue, such as city data management tools, infrastructure mapping, integrated city modelling, building information modelling systems and collation of good practice demonstrators. To capitalise on these initiatives and bring the subsurface into strategic city planning the workshop, hosted by the Future Cities Catapult at their Urban Innovation Centre drew together science expertise and city innovators that work across the boundary between surface and subsurface spatial planning and use, and city modelling. The aim was to demonstrate capability and share learning, identify commercial opportunities to address the challenges, and consider how we can advance this topic at a strategic level within UK cities. The workshop had two main objectives, which were addressed over three sessions that covered, issues and ideas, tools for city planning and use case development. Short talks by industry experts were given at the start of each session to highlight key points for the attendees. Workshop objectives: i) Innovation and commercialisation: Highlight the innovation and commercial products & services needed to address city challenges around improved city modelling and spatial planning. Identify funding mechanisms for demonstrators and pilot projects. ii) Policy and governance: Review the current policy framework for spatial planning, subsurface development and management. Identify opportunities for strategic policy/city-led initiatives which tackle the challenges around spatial planning.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey, Future Cities Catapult
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Date made live: 20 May 2016 13:51 +0 (UTC)

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